Vacant Lot Remediation and Firearm Violence: A Meta-Analysis and Benefit-to-Cost Evaluation

Previous studies have demonstrated the “robust” effect of vacant lot greening programs on crime reduction. A recent study featuring PISC Senior Scholar and Past Trainee Michelle Kondo, PhD, determines whether the resultant declines in firearm violence recover initial remediation costs of the vacant lot programs. A meta-analysis of eight previous studies evaluating the efficacy of vacant lots was conducted. Additional data was drawn from a probabilistic benefit-to-cost analysis across three hypothetical cities. Results indicate that greening and garden interventions had the most significant impact on reductions in firearm violence. Greening programs are the most cost-effective intervention, as cost savings from reducing firearm violence cover 21.06% of the initial per capita costs. The team concludes that although the savings do not cover the entirety of remediation expenses, the “health and environmental benefits of such programs can offset the greening and maintenance costs.”

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